"The Wolf" by Neal Kitterlin

“The Wolf” by Neal Kitterlin

Where do long letters go, the ones

we type to past entanglements, delete

with a single keystroke?  What invisible

processes of machine mind retain or

dispose?  What if the best advice anyone

will ever give us is also the saddest? What then?


We knew where the papers went, dissolving

in pulpy toilet swirls or ashy leavings.  We

breathed in the words, tickling our

nosehairs, triggering violent expulsions

from our lungs.  The power and glory mingling

with shit or briefly illuminating a moonless night.


We are whelmed by the weight of homemade catastrophe,

so many suitable cleaning agents beyond forensics, faces

we knew but don’t know anymore.  Starting over

shines simple in the sunlight, but in the dark hours

the tide pulls back, takes off our masks, dares us

gently to go there, to remake mistakes.


I want to get high on the couch and never move. I

want Jules to summon the Wolf to clean up the blood and

brain bits.  I want to be as good a man as my father.

I want to hide myself from temptation.  I want to leave

this world less broken than I came to it. I want

the cleansing fire hose of forgiveness.  I want to disappear.